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Citizens unite - Zimbabwe decides

by Charles Kwaramba - CCC Presidential Chief Elections Agent
23 Aug 2023 at 07:21hrs | Views
Polls have now opened on the most important election day in Zimbabwe's modern history. An estimated 6.6 million Zimbabweans will cast their votes today in presidential, parliamentary and council elections.

Amidst widespread joblessness, a devastating cost-of-living challenge, and virulent corruption by ZANU-PF, an overwhelming majority of Zimbabweans are now desperate for change. Afrobarometer's survey in July showed 65% believe the country is heading in the wrong direction. Polls by Elite Africa Research and SABI Strategy Group both show Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa ahead of President Mnangagwa.

Voting will conclude at 19:00 for the majority of polling stations. However, polls are required to stay open for 12 hours, so those that open late will also close late. Additionally, anyone in the queue before the 12 hours are up is legally allowed to vote. Once polls close, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has a maximum of five days to announce the results.

ZANU has already taken extreme steps to ensure today's elections are neither free nor fair: from the violence and intimidation against CCC supporters to the failure of ZEC to provide an auditable voters' roll. Nevertheless the will of the people can still be respected if today's vote is rigorously defended. Change is possible.

DIRTY TRICKS

Sadly we are already seeing the government up to its usual tricks to suppress the vote, with several CCC supporters horribly attacked on their way back from our rally in Mbare.

 We have also seen threats of violence against CCC supporters on social media and fake news articles designed to suppress efforts to protect the vote.

Internet advocacy group Netblocks has also recorded a throttling of internet connection across NetOne, Econet, TelOne and Liquid networks on the eve of the elections. This severely hampers citizens' ability to receive information about voting and also undermines the ability of parties and observer missions to monitor the elections.

We are in contact with Netblocks and will provide them with evidence of any restrictions to internet connectivity throughout the election. We urge the government to allow citizens to stay connected and let observers do their jobs properly.

A YELLOW SUN IS RISING

Despite ZANU's best efforts, on Sunday, thousands of Zimbabweans descended on the White City Stadium for CCC's penultimate rally in Bulawayo. At the event, President Chamisa told citizens, "We are one, for this is our country and we will win together as one."

Similar sized crowds amassed on Monday in Harare, with over 10,000 CCC supporters arriving to hear President Chamisa declare that "Zanu-PF is in panic mode and fearful of this election… We are going to win with a BIG and wide margin".

Across the country, Zimbabweans are clamoring out for change. We will deliver it for them.

To ensure that Wednesday's elections are fair and that every vote counts, the CCC is deploying a Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) system.

The PVT process will entail the collection of data on the voting and counting process at each polling station, including the number of registered voters, the number of ballots cast, and the number of votes cast for each candidate. This data will then be tabulated (catalogued) independently from the official results.

The Citizens DemoVox PVT system ensures that we will not only have access to the real vote count but - above all - that we have the capacity to provide hard, independently verifiable evidence to back up our victory.

For a recap of the Citizens DemoVox PVT system, read our first monitor email here.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM US

Our monitor emails will be sent regularly throughout polling day and the count and will deliver verified reports from our polling agents on the PVT process. The monitor will also provide accounts on major incidents and topics. This includes:

  • Electoral violence
  • Ballot/ballot box tampering
  • Internet restrictions/shutdowns
  • Media coverage of statements
  • Surveillance of trends in public sentiment
  • Voter intimidation


Charles Kwaramba
Presidential Chief Elections Agent

Source - Charles Kwaramba